Posted by on September 23, 2022 3:42 pm
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Midterm elections 2022: Here are the issues Texas voters care about the most

File – In this April 2, 2014 file photo, Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks in San Antonio. Attorney General Greg Abbott has decided previously that the state doesn’t have to disclose what potentially dangerous chemicals plants around Texas store. But he now clarifies that ordinary Texans are free to ask the plants on their own. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Eric Gay

Midterm elections 2022: Here are the issues Texas voters care about the most

Cami Mondeaux September 23, 03:11 PMSeptember 23, 03:11 PM Video Embed

As the country inches closer toward Election Day, voters are homing in on issues that may decide the fate of Congress and several state governments in November.

The Washington Examiner is tracking which issues are on the top of voters’ minds as they prepare to head to the polls, particularly in key battleground states that could bring a shift in power to the federal government. Specifically, we’re tracking how voters are researching our top five issues — abortion, crime, education, inflation, and taxes — and how these interests fluctuate as we get closer to Election Day.

MIDTERMS 2022: TRACKING THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO VOTERS AHEAD OF ELECTION DAY

Below, you can track the interest of each of our key issues on a rolling 30-day basis in the state of Texas. The Washington Examiner will be updating this page as interests and voting concerns change.

Key races we’re watching in the state: 

Despite being a reliably red state that leaves little room for upsets or surprises, Texas has a number of high-profile midterm races for federal and state-level positions.

The most closely watched election in Texas for November is the race for governor between incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott who is seeking to defend his seat against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman who initially rose to fame when he came close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018. The race is expected to lean Republican, but the battle between Abbott and O’Rourke has become more competitive over the last few months.

Elsewhere on the ballot, state Attorney General Ken Paxton is seeking to defend his seat against Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza. The race has turned heads because Paxton runs on a campaign denying the results of the 2020 election despite holding an office that helps administer elections in the state.

Texas voters will also head to the polls to choose their representatives for several House races, with Republicans seeking to gain control of Congress in November.

Education

Education emerged as the top issue among Texas voters over the last month, reigning as the No. 1 searched topic as of Sept. 19, according to internet searches recorded and analyzed by Google Trends.

The most-searched terms related to education over the last 30 days included the names of student loan companies or “student loan forgiveness.” Education-related searches were highest on Aug. 24 and during the last week of August, likely coinciding with the announcement of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

Searches regarding education received renewed interest during the first week of September, likely in relation to a decision from the board of education delaying a vote on updates to the state’s social studies curricula to remove subject matter that makes students “feel discomfort.” That vote comes as several positions on the board are up for election in November.

Taxes

Taxes also emerged as a top issue among Texas voters, consistently sitting in the top three issues during the last week of August and the first two weeks of September.

It’s not clear what is driving the interest behind tax-related searches, but it may have something to do with the race for Texas’s comptroller as Republican Glenn Hegar has attracted headlines in his bid for a third term. The race for comptroller, a position that acts as the state’s chief tax collector, typically flies under the radar.

However, Hegar has attracted unusual attention by challenging several financial companies with anti-gas or -oil stances and threatening budget sanctions against some counties over a lack of law enforcement funding.

Crime

Crime has remained steady as one of the top issues on the minds of Texas voters, particularly after the state was rattled by a mass shooting at an elementary school in May that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has especially taken center stage in the governor’s race, with O’Rourke repeatedly using it as a talking point against Abbott’s crime policies. O’Rourke interrupted a press conference held by Abbott one day after the shooting, confronting the Republican governor about the state’s gun laws that he said contributed to the incident.

O’Rourke again made headlines on the matter after criticizing a heckler who laughed as the Democratic candidate called for increased gun control in the state. “It may be funny to you, motherf***er,” O’Rourke said, “but it’s not funny to me.”

Abortion 

Abortion remained a low-researched topic among Texas voters over the last 30 days, coming in at No. 4 as of Sept. 19.

Top searches related to abortion included queries on exceptions to Texas’s abortion ban and laws concerning the procedure in nearby states such as New Mexico. A new Texas law that took effect in August bans abortion in almost all cases after a heartbeat is detected, which is usually at about six weeks. Exceptions are made when the mother’s life is at risk.

The issue of abortion became central to several candidates’ campaigns after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer, ending nationwide access to abortions and instead returning the decision of its legality to the states.

Inflation

Inflation came in as the least-searched topic among Texas voters throughout August and September, aside from a spike in interest on Sept. 13.

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The most-searched terms related to inflation included the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed by Biden in early August. The measure seeks to reduce the country’s deficit by $300 billion over the next 10 years by expanding health insurance subsidies, increasing funding for the Internal Revenue Service, and offering financial incentives to companies that prioritize renewable energy.

Republicans have long focused on inflation as a key voter concern in the midterm election cycle, pointing to soaring inflation rates under the Biden administration. However, inflation has become less of a concern after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, offering Democrats relief and posing a challenge to Republicans as they formulate new strategies.

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